The latest jargon to have made an entry into the tech lexicon is Big Data. No matter what tech publication you subscribe to, Big Data is bound to be there.
But does Big Data make sense when it comes to the small startup? First of all, you may not have that much data to analyze. Cost of ownership of a Big Data application may be another major deterrent. Add to it the steep price that a good data scientist (if you happen to find one, that is!) charges and you may well choose to avoid it altogether.
So can your cash-strapped startup never gain a competitive advantage through data? Will you be never able to transform your data into money?
You surely can! Sometimes all you need to do is but look in your own backyard.
3 data sources which you can cash on (both literally and metaphorically)!
This is in itself a treasure house of data. If you have a website, 99.99% chances are that you use Google Analytics too. Get to know where your visitors are coming from, what they are doing on your site, how much time they are spending, whether there are any navigational blockages on you site and so on and so forth.
2) Social Media
This is where your actual customers interact. Understand what they like about you, what they hate about you and how you can improve. See what your competitors are doing. Social media is much more than a Like and a Follow. It is where actual conversations can happen, if you but engage your customers wisely.
3) Sales Data
Invest in a good application to manage your sales and customer data. The amount of value you can get from this one investment is tremendous. Salesforce is a good place to start with.
Most of these (eg: Google Analytics, Facebook, Salesforce) come with their own in-built analytics and reporting and you do not necessarily have to be a data wizard to understand them. As you grow, you can combine data from these diverse sources, mix and match them and then visualize to generate business critical insights.
Remember, this may be only the tip of the Big Data iceberg but you have got to start somewhere!
[Guest article contributed by Shilpi Choudhury, a writer at FusionCharts]